FOOD REACTION:IS IT AN ALLERGY OR AN INTOLERANCE?

Food reactions are basically reactions that people  encounter when they consume a particular type of food.However the confusing part of this to many people is if what they we felt was an allergy or an intolerance.It may surprise you to know that many of the reactions you observe after taking a particular may be food intolerance and not an allergy as we always assume.
In this the post we are would try and make clear the difference between food allergy and intolerance.The difference is based on how you react to food and how your body responds to it.

Food Allergy

Food allergy is occurs via the immune system.When food is eaten,part of it is detected by  immunoglobulins (antibodies in the blood that fight infection) as a foreign body hence an immune reaction is triggered upon release of immunoglobulin E (IgE) in large amounts.
It is said to be immunologic in nature.

You do not have to eat the food in order to have an allergy but you can be exposed through skin contact or breathing in the substance.

Symptoms includes the following:
-Hives (which is an itchy rash on the skin)

-Swelling of the arms or legs

-Swelling of the throat

-Difficulty breathing, vomiting or diarrhea.

These symptoms are all due to the immune system response to the food.


COMMON FOODS KNOWN TO CAUSE ALLERGIC REACTIONS
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Peanuts, Tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, etc), wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, milk and eggs.
Allergies to egg,nuts and shellfish may last a lifetime and should be completley avoided.

Some of the symptoms of food intolerance and food allergy are similar, but the differences between the two are very important.


Food Intolerance

Food intolerance has to do with the digestive system.It occurs due to the body’s inability to digest  certain food.
Lactose intolerance is one of the common forms of food intolerance. It occurs due to the inability of the body to digest lactose in the milk leading to bloating and flatulence.

Though it makes you feel unease,it is not life threatening.Food can be avoided but not completely eliminated.

Symptoms of food intolerance includes: Bloating
Flatulence
Constipation
Diarrhea & Vomiting

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5 TIPS TO PREVENT DEHYDRATION

Dehydration is  said to occur when there is loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeding the amount that is taken into the body.There is electrolyte imbalance (Salt and Sugar) in the body which interfere with the way the body functions.

Signs of dehydration may include; headaches & irritability, extreme thirst,sunken eyes,very dry mouth and mucous membrane,little or no urination.

The following tips may help you prevent dehydration.

1.Fluids can be obtained not just from water but also from other beverages and foods. But, if you are exercising, don’t wait to get thirsty before you drink water.
It is best to start hydrating the day before strenuous exercise. Producing lots of clear, dilute urine is a good indication that you’re well hydrated. Before exercising, drink 1 to 3 cups (0.24 to 0.70 liters) of water. During the activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals and continue drinking water or other fluids after you’re finished.

NB:Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.

2.Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, teas, and colas, are not recommended for optimal hydration. These fluids tend to promote dehydration due to their diuretic effect. This leads to a greater loss of body water, which can cause or exacerbate dehydration.

Some beverages are better than others at preventing dehydration,however water is all you need if you don’t intend to involve yourself in an intense physical activity.

The best way to beat dehydration is to drink before you get thirsty. If you wait until after you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

3.It is best and appropriate to drink small amounts of fluid throughout the day,rather than drinking a large amount of water at a go.
The healthy person is advised to drink 6-8 glasses of water (3-4 sachets of water) in a day.An individual involved in highly intensive physical activity would require more.

4.Lookout for polyuria.
Diabetes is another illness that can cause you to be  dehydrated.
Polyuria(excessive urination)is one of the cardinal symptoms of diabetes. Hyperglycemia will increase urination as your body attempts to decrease the glucose in your blood. If you urinate frequently, see your doctor for consultation.Type 2 diabetes  is often one of the most frequent undiagnosed diseases and with the global rise in diabetes you need to report to your doctor if you begins to observe these symptoms.

A good indicator of whether or not you are dehydrated is your urine.

Check the urine indicator chart.

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5.During hot and humid weather, You are at a higher risk of dehydration and heat-related illnesses, including cramps during hot and humid weather. It is  appropriate you wear very light and loose clothing during hot weather to avoid profuse sweating.This also allows for good  air flow;evaporating sweat.
Avoid wearing dark clothing; this absorb more heat than light clothing.

You are adivised to drink water to avoid been dehydrated in hot or humid weather, regardless of your activity level. Drinking water helps lower your body temperature and replace the fluid you lose through sweating.

HIGHLIGHTS: SWEET MELODIES FOOD EXPO “16

After months of anticipation, the Sweet Melodies Food in Focus Expo “16 came  off last weekend 2nd April at the forecourt of Sweet Melodies, a radio station in Accra. The theme for this year’s program was “Healthy Eating :Getting it Right”. The sole aim of the event was to educate  participants on healthy eating , laying emphasis on meal timings and to bring to light some healthy foods and how they are prepared, such as using wheat (Bulgurium) to prepare a common Ghanaian meals ie.Jollof Rice and Wheat Porridge.
The day began with the arrival of the registered dietitians, dietetic interns, dietetic students and sponsors of the program. The programme commenced with a word of prayer from Ms. Charity Ashie ,RD.

The event saw the constellation of dietitians from various health facilties in and around Accra.The event was powered by Food in Focus and Sweet Melodies ,proudly sponsored by Bulgurium wheat, 31 Kravings and Kubae.

Clients started arriving in the early hours of 8 am and were briefed about the exercises to be carried out with respect to the program by some dietetic interns. Dietetic students from the School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences were at the program to volunteer. They assessed the height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), visceral fat and body fat of the clients that attended the program.
Clients had the option of checking their blood pressure and their blood glucose levels.

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Clients also moved to the section of the dietetic interns and professional dietitians, where their diet histories were taken  and individualised counselling were given to each client.

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At the end of the day, participants confessed the time had been worthwhile and looked forward to the next year. The brain behind this initiative is Mrs Laurene Boateng, RD from Legon Hospital and a staff of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics of the University of Ghana School of Biomedical and Allied Sciences.

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Watch out for the next edition of Sweet Melodies Food Expo

 

AUTHORS

Eric Anku  &  Becky -Bianca Dede Akiti